Not Your Mom’s Apple Pie Chart

Analysis and refinement of the chart accompanying the titular NYTimes article.

Original

Redux

Off On
# and Position of Balls
75
155
Sun shadow
23
149
Practical Concerns
25
60
Character/Artistic
37
20
Topography/Climate
17
33
Shelling
30
10
Rocks
19
13
Camera/Exposure
10
20
Cannon Ball Properties
8
17
Gravity
5
3
Physics
2
2

By rotating everything horizontally I'm able to label the bars directly instead of using a legend, which reduces the path your eyes must travel from four places to a single line. Then, because we've consolidated the bars to one place I can halve the number of labels and actually increase the clarity. We eliminate the black baselines and use negative space instead. Then we focus on reducing the empty space and non-data ink in the original's y-axis. The top 1/4 of the graph area is completely wasted. Instead of having approximate bars and requiring the legend for the actual numbers, why not place the numbers on the bars themselves? While we're at it, we'll sort the bars descending by their total; that reveals the number of respondents for each item; using the original you'd have to do the math yourself. Now, because we've reduced the waste part of the graph we can increase the size of the label text to make it easier to read; the original labels are quite small and tightly clumped. This simplifaction results in a graph that actually presents more information than the original and does so using less ink and less space that is easier to understand.

not-your-moms-apple-pie-chart redux to reduce non-data ink and consolidate related data in one area.